Labor Pains and Growth in Recovery

Spare Change News is proud to present the second installment of its new monthly feature, “In Their Own Words,” which highlights the work of writers who meet at Rosie’s Place. In late 2014, Rosie’s Place, a community center for Boston’s poor and homeless women, started a memoir workshop. The intention was to have the guests, as they call the women they serve, write about their lives as a means of understanding and possibly working through difficult experiences. It was one of many creative outlets offered at Rosie’s Place that may also have a therapeutic benefit. Today’s author, Florence, came to Rosie’s Place in 2010, looking to turn her life around. She found a sponsor in Rosie’s Place founder Kip Tiernan and feels fortunate to have had that relationship until Kip’s death in 2011. Now in recovery, Florence gives back by leading a 12-step group at Rosie’s Place and is preparing her writing for publication.

A black woman, the eldest child of 16 children, a mother of two daughters and one son. A grandmother of three grandsons and one granddaughter. Left home at the age of 18 to return 29 years later. Flow, the little girl had some issues of sexual abuse, and then alcohol/drug addiction which she had to get to the root of her pain. The wolf, which is the addiction of alcohol/drugs, because of her shame, guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, took her to college, which she did not complete. A marriage which lasted only three years. Abandoned her two daughters for 17 years. Started at Rosie’s Place with a 21-day change of her life. Homeless for twenty months, through the process of six shelters, one place–a stay for 17 months with 17 men and six women then seven roommates, a goal set to get her own place. She said she was “homeless, with a solution.” A learning process in which she had to learn perseverance, endurance, to become accountable, responsible, trustworthy to live with herself, by herself with a key, to be part of a community. Florence had to do a lot of labor in recovery to come back home to be a grandmother and to be present for her mother when she passed on, April of 2014. Flow became as “sick as her secrets” but in recovery there was hope because when she let go of the secret, it was told to her that one day she would become a “rose.” The labor began by using her pen and this began her voice and breaking the generational curse. Developing self-acceptance and self-forgiveness is an art. The bottom line is “tell your truth.” It will set you free and you will no longer be as sick as the secret.

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